Will Ferrell is one of many actors who established a career on the television series “Saturday Night Live,” but getting there wasn’t always easy. Born on July 16, 1967, the actor had a traditional upbringing. His father Roy was a musician who worked with the Righteous Brothers, and his mother was a school teacher who sometimes taught college. At the age of eight, his parents sat him and his little brother Patrick down and told them they were divorcing.
Unlike other children who find divorce traumatizing, Ferrell learned to roll with the punches. The one thing he did notice was that his father constantly struggled and didn’t always have money to take care of his children. Watching his mother pay for everything made Ferrell realize that show business was a harsh job. As a child, he told his friends and family that he never wanted to work in such a job. All of that changed when he learned that people thought he was funny.
While attending Turtle Rock Elementary, he started getting laughs when he would purposefully fall or hurt himself in front of others. Those laughs continued when he went to Rancho San Joaquin Middle School and University High School. In high school, he played on the basketball team and the soccer team, and he was a student council member. Ferrell started coming up with jokes and skits in high school, but when he went to college, he tried to settle down.
The University of Southern California gave Ferrell the chance to hone his acting skills while studying sports broadcasting. Though he worked at a television station and continued his studies, he discovered that he preferred entertaining. After college, he worked as a bank teller and a valet, but with his family’s encouragement, he decided to make the move south.
Ferrell originally tried working as a standup comic, but he wouldn’t find success until he joined the Groundlings. As one of its more advanced members, he had the chance to create his own skits and impressions. Prior to landing one of the roles with the group, he appeared on shows like “Living Single” and “Grace Under Fire.”
In 1995, Lorne Michaels asked Ferrell and several other members to audition for “Saturday Night Live.” After landing the role, Ferrell became one of the featured players on the show. Some of his more popular roles included James Lipton, Ned the Horse, and Alex Trebeck. Ferrell stayed until 2002, and he later returned to host several times and appear in different skits. In his second-to-last season on the show, Ferrell earned more than $300,000.
Ferrell started working on his film career while still on television, but after leaving the show, he gained a number of fans due to his work in the box office hit “Old School.” He followed that up with a role in the holiday-themed film “Elf,” which earned him an MTV Movie Award nomination. Some of his other hit comedy films included “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” and “Starsky & Hutch.” He also dipped his toes in drama with a role in the dramady “Stranger Than Fiction.”
Ferrell showcased his singing talents at the ESPY Awards and the Academy Awards. Along with comedic actor John C. Reilly, he created songs that poked fun at famous athletes, celebrities, and even the Oscars. Some fans also know the actor for his voice work. He portrayed the Black Knight on “Family Guy,” voiced Bob Oblong on “The Oblongs,” and played the title role in “Megamind.” In 2009, he ventured onto Broadway with his show “You’re Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush,” which played for over a month.
The actor is also a family man. After dating Viveca Paulin for five years, the two tied the knot in 2000. Their first son was born in 2004, and they later welcomed two other sons. He enjoys jogging, and some fans found themselves running next to him in different marathons. He continues supporting his alma mater, and he sometimes returns to the University of Southern California for football games.
Ferrell appeared in three films in 2012, and he has two more films coming out in 2013. In “Anchorman: The Legend Continues,” Ferrell plays Ron Burgundy, who he claims is one of his favorite roles, and he serves as actor and producer of “Three Mississippi.” Fans can look forward to hearing his voice work in 2014’s “The Lego Movie,” and he hopes to keep his fans laughing with other films in the coming years.